How do you define an American icon? Well, when you have a T.V show, and 2 movies based on the events of your life, that pretty much does it. Jerry defines the word legend. The original 'good old boy', life is on his terms, and we’re just along for the ride.
A true outlaw hero: by the age of 12 there wasn’t a lawman in his home state of North Carolina that could catch him when he was behind the wheel. This was a time in America’s south when you had 2 choices: starve or make moonshine whiskey. Like his father, and his father’s father before him, Jerry took to the family business like mash to a copper kettle.
It was his passion for speed and his skill in the driver's seat that led to his success as a moonshine runner and race car driver. In fact, NASCAR’s roots grew from the dirt track battles between shine runners in their souped-up cars. Jerry went head to head with the likes of Robert Glenn "Junior" Johnson and Wendell Scott, often winning sitting on nothing more than a milk crate.
As the story goes, Jerry was asked by Gy Waldron to record the events of his life on audio tape. Waldron, a Hollywood producer, used these recorded stories as the inspiration for his 1975 film, Moonrunners, in which Jerry had some bit parts and did all the stunt work. Ten years later Waldron took those tapes and created the popular T.V. show, The Dukes of Hazzard. The characters in the show, Cooter, Uncle Jesse, Boss Hogg, Bo and Luke, and of course Daisy Duke are all based on real people from Jerry’s life.
True to Hollywood form, the producers did not give Jerry credit for his contributions. Ultimately he had to sue Warner Brothers for royalties from the eight year long series.
Always a man who has given more than he’s gotten, Jerry is currently involved with the prison ministry, helping prisoners find a future on the outside.
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